FORT WORTH -- Many sons and daughters of the famous are bit uncomfortable with dragging around a celebrated name.
But the headliner for Friday's installment of the Fort Worth Symphony Concerts in the Garden series is proud to share a moniker with this well-known dad.
"I'm the son of the Mambo King, Tito Puente," said his like-named offspring to open the concert. Junior went on to explain that the evening would be a celebration of his father's music.
He made good on that immediately. Backed by a nine-piece ensemble, the vocalist-percussionist devoted the first half of the concert to tunes played by the senior Puente in the 1950s, such as 1957's Que Sera.
The second half mixed some of Puente Jr.'s originals with his father's hits. Among the highlights were the first tune that Puente Sr. ever recorded, Ran Kan Kan, a 12-minute jam in which all three of the band's percussionists took solos, and the concert closer, Oye Como Va, the legendary Santana hit written by Puente Sr.
All were textbook definitions of Latin jazz dance numbers. And they were exceptionally well played.
However, about the only difference between Puente Jr.'s tunes and those of his father were that they weren't exactly the same length. Otherwise, they sounded pretty much the same.
In addition to Puente's virtuosity and showmanship (he "worked the room" tirelessly, asking the audience, "Did you feel it?" after almost every song), his keyboardist and music director, Marlow Rosado, was also outstanding on several numbers. And a five-piece horn section made up of players from Texas colleges was equally impressive.
It was not all a bed of roses. There was the cowbell solo, for example.
But it was all good enough to get a considerable percentage of the just over 1,000 patrons on their feet and dancing on a sweltering night in the Garden. And that is about the highest praise any artist performing in this series could hope to get.